I went into Jupiter’s Fire with mixed expectations; the synopsis convinced me to give the story a try, but I’m one of those annoying readers who always judges a book by it’s cover – & I didn’t like this cover. I really enjoyed the story though, so I guess I need to stop being so judgemental of aesthetics, lol.
I was sent this book to review as part of a blog tour organised by Rachel’s Random Resources.
⚠️ This book contains war themes including gun & grenade use, injury, the murder of a Catholic priest, criticism of the Christian Faith & discussions of the Nazi regime & their intentions ⚠️
When Franco, a teenager living in the monastery at Monte Cassino in 1944 uncovers a long-lost Roman Eagle, the fabled Aquila for the Jupiter Legion, he sets in motion a desperate struggle to prevent the Nazis from using it to win the war. In a do-or-die mission, Franco and Dulcie, a teenage mountain girl, must steal the Eagle back and escape before its deadly power is unleashed. Pursued by the implacable forces of the SS they will discover not just the secrets of the Eagle but also themselves.
Jupiter’s Fire started off with a very intriguing prologue & from there I was hooked; I wanted to know how the Roman prologue tied in with World War Two & how it was connected to the two teenagers at the centre of the plot. Very quickly into reading the book I started to get strong middle grade vibes – the book wasn’t advertised to me as being middle grade, & some of the themes definitely make it suitable for the older end of the middle grade bracket, but I love middle grade war stories so I was sold.
Jupiter’s Fire has a very unique background to it & it’s also set in a part of the world that I don’t know much about; I read to learn & at the end of the book there is a small passage that talks about what the Germans did to the Monte Cassino monastery in 1994 (which is where the book is set at the very beginning) – even though a lot of this story is fiction, the violence that occurred in Monte Cassino isn’t & I admire that the author has tried to educate young readers about a less well known part of The Second World War.
The idea of the Nazis chasing down young teenagers with the hope of obtaining an ancient power that could help them win the war felt very possible to me; this story could definitely hold some truth to it & that made the whole thing a lot more unnerving. My only criticism of the story is that I don’t think Hitler was made out to be as evil as he was in reality – rather, the people that worked for him were seen to be cruel & nasty, but Hitler was almost presented as “normal”. The strength & kindness of the Catholic religion & church helped to show some light against the heinous Nazis though, & seeing how far the priests in so many different locations would go to keep Franco & Dulcie safe was a breath of fresh air, in an otherwise dark story.
Jupiter’s Fire did have me on the edge of my seat more than once, but it still managed to stay in the middle grade lane despite this; the story is exciting & engaging & as a reader you cannot help but route for Franco & Dulcie. This was an interesting addition to the many middle grade war stories that I’ve read & I’m definitely going to read the author’s other two war books.
If you like more mature middle grade war stories then I absolutely recommend this gripping little story, use the links below to get yourself a copy!
Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.com | Book Depository | Waterstones
William Osborne – Born 1960 – educated at Greshams School, Holt, Norfolk and Robert Louis Stevenson, Pebble Beach, California, studied law at Cambridge,(MA), barrister at law, Member of the Middle Temple. Screenwriter and member of Writers Guild of America (West) – Author (published works, 1994, 1998, Hitler’s Angel, Winter’s Bullet, Jupiter’s Fire). Lives in Norfolk, enjoys life, film, dog walking, cold water swimming, Lego, collecting odd stuff, driving his beach buggy.
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